Image credit: Colin Keldie (Mocean Energy)

Mocean Energy has commenced testing of their Blue X wave energy prototype at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

In the last few days the 20-metre long, 38-tonne wave machine has been towed from Kirkwall to EMEC’s Scapa Flow test site where it has been successfully moored and commissioned for initial sea trials.

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Later this summer the Blue X will be moved to EMEC’s grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo on the west coast of Orkney, where it will go through its paces in more rigorous full sea conditions. Next year, Mocean Energy will connect the device to a subsea battery which will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) – with potential applications offshore.

Image credit: Mocean Energy

Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt, said: “This is a very exciting moment as we put our first prototype to test at sea. Following successful installation on Friday, Blue X generated its first power and continued to generate power, charging batteries, throughout the weekend.

“In the Scapa testing phase, we will test power production, comparing results against our numerical predictions, and we will test operations including towing, installation, removal, and access at sea. The device is standalone and operated wirelessly. A 4G connection allows us to send commands and download data from shore.”

Tim Hurst, managing director of Wave Energy Scotland, said: “This test programme coincides with the real prospect of a UK market support mechanism for marine energy, which could enable Britain’s wave and tidal sector to take a global lead at a time when the whole world is seeking new ways to create a net zero future.”

McNatt believes the technology is well suited for a number of offshore operations. In fact, earlier this year Mocean Energy announced a £1.6 million ($2.3 million) project with OGTC, oil major Chrysaor (now newly formed Harbour Energy) and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus to demonstrate the potential of the Blue X prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle – using onshore testing at EC-OG’s Aberdeen facility.

The deployment and demonstration of the Blue X at EMEC is being funded by Wave Energy Scotland and supported by Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project.